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Tailgate blog: Live from blustery Waco

Travis Haney Published: November 19, 2011

 

BEVERLY HILLS, Texas — We’re unsure if we’re in Waco or Beverly Hills. Let’s go with the latter. Sounds exotic.

I’ve only been through here, never stopped. I’m looking directly at all the steeples and spires on the Baylor campus, but we’re a couple of miles south. There are rumors of an on-campus stadium in the works. That would be an improvement, I’d say.

When we arrived at Floyd Casey Stadium just after 4 p.m., to see the Baylor band on the field. We learned it had been there since 2. Quite the day-of practice session. Evidently there was some sort of meltdown at its most recent home show. A source close to the music said the tuba section has its act together now.

I woke up today and thought, ‘Did yesterday really happen?’ From start to finish, just a surreal day watching things unfold for Oklahoma State. The more I thought about it last night, the sadder I got, thinking of Kurt Budke‘s widow and kids. It’s impossible to put into words. I’m just thinking about and praying for them an awful lot. And, of course, for Miranda Serna‘s friends and family, as well. I hope healing somehow takes hold in Stillwater, just as it did a decade ago.

Perhaps the Cowboys felt the need to provide that healing last night and played tighter. Heck, Iowa State might have won anyway, it being one of those wacky Friday night games. We’ll never know the real impact of the tragedy, because it can’t be measured across more than 100 people. Each person had a different reaction, but surely each one had some sort of a reaction, so it was at least part of the equation.

Give the Cyclones credit. They made just enough plays and the defense really had some outstanding possessions against an offense most thought (we wrote last week) was the best on the freaking planet.

I delve into this because there’s been a lot of talk about what the OSU loss did to OU in the BCS stuff. Short answer: I don’t know. Too many variables swirling around and still too many games to be played by those in contention. You’ve got to think that, right now, Oregon could be today’s biggest winner. Alabama struggled. The Ducks, with a win against a good Southern Cal team, could ease up into second. Maybe. Or maybe not. It’ll be close. An impressive Oklahoma win could make 2-4 quite tight.

At this point, I’m expecting the unexpected. USC beats Oregon. Arkansas beats LSU. Whatever. All bets are off in yet another wacky college football season.

What happens to the magnitude to Bedlam? Duh, it takes a hit. But it’s unclear if that hit would prohibit OU from reaching the BCS. We just don’t know. Too many miles to go. But the Sooners are still in the discussion, and that’s all they could ask for. Their mantra should be to control what they can control, and I’m sure that’s where their minds are, beginning tonight in the state of Texas. Suddenly a win against Iowa State looks better than it did a week ago. And then, if OU somehow goes into Stillwater and wins (convincing or close), they’re right in that mix on Dec. 4.

This is no gimme here, though. Baylor, surely, will put up points. It’s just a matter of how many points the Bears will allow. How (who, really) will the Sooners account for the loss of Ryan Broyles? Which big-play OU defense will show up, the one that allows them or causes them?

Some picks to click/projections for the Sooners …

Landry Jones: 31-44, 412 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT

Kenny Stills (no brainwaves required for that choice): 8 catches, 142 yards, 2 TDs

Jaz Reynolds (only a couple more than the Stills’ pick): 7 catches, 112 yards, TD

Ronnell Lewis: 7 tackles, 1.5 sacks, FF

Javon Harris: 4 tackles, 2 INTs

= Trav

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